A totally random, whatever came to mind first, selection of the latest additions to our New Independent Music Friday playlist
Music reviews written by Tobi Davis
Electric six-strings rattle, grind, and rake; the stereo field opened up and the 3-minute 30-second track given depth, with competing movements of crunch-blunted tone, delivered in saturated-crafted contrasting timbre. The bass moving fast, with a sleight of hand, across the fretboard; perfectly punctuated dabs of low frequency, flavored with a delicious edge of distorted grit. Drums working a pittapatta of kick and snare; kick landing light, bouncing the track from beat to beat. Snare impacting into the skin, the stick turning and dipping on the wrist. The tip and tickle of the Hi-Hat adding count and pace; keeping the top of the groove, as the bass drives the bottom.
Vocals laze, talk, and shout their way through the verses; conversational and idle, yet building in weight, inference, and quiet intensity; shards of an image, an afterthought, and possibly trade-off in scattered aside; an understated soliloquy, meandering monologue.
Only to break-open in the choruses, a voice on-the-run in stacked double-track upon double-track; rushing and rising in glorious and untidy, indie-singalong-hook. Guitars surge and shift into supersonic, great velocities of distortion cast left/right. The production accelerating and breaking as one; wondrous dynamic movements en masse. Cymbal shimmer and smash cascading across the width of the track; snare landing in rapid-fire smacks of rasping, exploding noise.
Though presented in the homebrewed tones of slackerdom, lo-fi, and hazy, dazy, garage rock, ‘Wrestling’ is, in fact, a deceptively well-crafted production; the composition moving from movement to movement with accomplished finesse and compelling contrast. The instrumentation employed demonstrates a keen sense of musicality in its choice of complementing and competing tone and timbre. The unassuming arrangement creating great depth, shifting layer and width with great, and quiet, success.
The history of rock ‘n’ roll has known more than a few ‘larger than life’ bands who went about their music-making with great and glorious pride, pomp and circumstance. And although the legendary status of the likes of Led Zeppelin, Queen, and Pink Floyd are well-deserved; far fewer, truly great bands, went about their work quietly, in compelling diligence and inspired service to their craft and their audience. And it is in this less celebrated, but every bit as impressive, regard that Cartalk begins to stand compared to, and are evocative of, the likes of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. For they too were deceptively accomplished in their production, understated in their presentation, standout in their songwriting, and out and out rock ‘n’ rollers.
Rising out of the silence, a pulsating, modulating sequencer shimmers from note to note of low mid spl. Kick punches deep and deadened, smacking low frequency and a touch of sub down the center of the 3-minute 28-second track. Snare arrives in stabs of smack and rasp; dry implosions of midrange impact. A second sequencer fizzes and shifts down the gut of the track, providing movement and pace.
Mayfly’s voice travels in breathless rushes of a graceful whisper, placed ethereally and afloat above the center of the mix. Lines are repeated as though loop or percussive sample; building in emphasis through the act of repetition; their inspired melody compelling contrasted by the repetitive presentation.
Throughout Mayfly’s vocal plays off against the instrumentation, drifting into the distance as the arrangement swells and surges. Synth leads meander, almost absent-minded, in the background. The production creating a constantly evolving and contrasting stereo field, as the orchestration grows in complexity, layer, and depth.
Mayfly’s output is protracted at best, with only two singles in the space of a year, but each is an exquisite act of composition. The young producer demonstrating a keen ear for detail and a seemingly intuitive sense of how to build complementing elements and layers. “Selfish Girl” represents further evidence of the striking talent of Mayfly. We can but hope that we need not wait another year for her third single.
Vinyl crackles left/right, snippets of stereo, lo-fi ear candy on the down-low. Piano keys tumble, climb and fall in loop; set back and roomy, gramophone timbre; jazzy with understated opulence. A bassline begins to groove; shifting movements of low-frequency grind, pushing and pulling the track; laid backswing. Beats snap and punch; snare crushed rattle, drum-machine sneezed; stuttered shards. Kick dabbing deep, dull, and flat; popped on top, creating a presence in the mix.
Costi walks his words at a stroll, allowing the beat to breathe; working in loosely syncopated stanzas of conversational thought, observation, and reflection; lyrics rich in wit and insight, compelling undersold.
Unassuming and quietly engaging, “Escape from Mars” is delivered with accomplished and tastefully judged musicality; word and instrument working in effective tandem. The intuitively pitched production, an object lesson is knowing how much is enough. A demonstration of artistic integrity and the great potential of its creator.
Share your music via Thursday’s #Musichouruk 8 pm – 9 pm (UK Time) for considering on our New Music Monster Playlist and review as one of our New Music Picks!
Tobi is a mastering engineer and remixer via Tobisonics. As well as writing music reviews for Brash and running various Independent Music playlists, he also hosts Thursday’s #Musichouruk on Twitter.